While I love traveling solo, it’s also nice to share holiday experiences with friends and family. Whether it be parents, siblings, a partner or best friend, traveling together can give you some amazing experiences and memories- but it can also be challenging and frustrating at times. After many solo trips and several shared holidays, I’m still learning how to balance my inner independent explorer with (attempted) considerate travel companion. But here are 5 things I keep in mind when traveling with family.
1. Plan your trip well so you can relax once there
While this is usually the case with any trip, I find that when traveling alone or with someone who travels at the same pace/style as me, it’s much easier to wing it along the way and be spontaneous. When travelling with family though, I find the trip is much smoother if I put in time and effort to plan ahead. For my latest trip with my mum, I pre-booked all of our accommodation and main transport as well a few day tours for key experiences that we didn’t want to miss.
For the daytours I looked for options that would suit both of us and not be too exhausting (tours that went for 2-3 hours rather than a whole day) and at times we could relax. For example, seeing Pompeii with an archaeologist in the evening when it’s cooler and less crowded and taking a 2 hour boat trip around Capri with drinks and snacks, where mum could relax on the deck while I snorkeled.
2. Opt for accommodation with plenty of space
AirBnBs are perfect because you can choose to have separate bedrooms rather than hotel rooms where you have minimum private space. There’s also often separate living room space and the option of cooking your own meals- a great money saver when you’re traveling in a group. Many AirBnBs also have laundry facilities which saves money as you can wash your own clothes rather than pay for a hotel laundry service. For my latest trip, I booked us 2 bedroom AirBnBs throughout and ensured they had aircon.
3. Stay Centrally
Another thing I looked for when booking AirBnBs was location. For all our stops I made sure we were located in the best place for that destination, whether that was right in the old town of Napoli or close to the beach in Ischia. This made life so much easier once we got to the AirBnB, as many restaurants, beaches and attractions were only a short walk away.
4. Spend more time at fewer places
The key aspect here is to plan the travel pace around the slowest person. While I can’t stress enough the importance of having your own personal adventure space, when you move from place to place it’s important to plan the travel and duration of stays at a pace that everyone can enjoy. As I’m younger and more active than mum, I would normally be fine to move quickly from place to place or stay in hostels. Travelling with her means I’m conscious that changing accommodation places every night will be exhausting (this is also the case for me to a lesser extent) and while I’d be happy to partly commute by bike or long walks, I know she would not be. So I made sure the minimum time we spent in each destination was 2 nights but often more.
- I also planned transport in a similar manner. I knew it would be stiflingly hot and crowded in Italy during August, so I wanted to avoid buses, trains and also cars as Naples is notoriously one of the worst areas to drive around in Italy. Instead, I planned the vast majority of our transport by boat. Being on the water with a sea breeze helped us to feel cooler and also provided some great scenery along the way.
5. Spending time apart is key
This not only provides you with some personal space from your loved ones but also gives everyone a chance to do different things and have no regrets about missing out on something because it wasn’t an experience everyone wanted to do. In the past this has definitely led to resentment on my part as I’ve felt I missed out on things that were important to me. It also means you can have lots of adventures during the day and subsequent stories to share together in the evening over dinner or drinks.
- I hope that this post has given you some ideas about how to best enjoy traveling with family or close friends. I’d love to hear about any other things you’ve found useful!